All of MichaelHoward's Comments + Replies

These posts finally made me get Something Important:

Akrasia is a security problem, and not just against external adversaries like advertising.

Is there anything good written yet about solving this domain of problems from a security mindset perspective?

"manage your working memory carefully" <--- This sounds like a potentially important skill that I wasn't aware of. Please could you elaborate?

I wrote some more about that here.

Science historian James Gleick thinks that part of what separates geniuses from ordinary people is their ability to concentrate deeply. If that's true, it seems plausible that this is a factor which can be modified without changing your genes. Remember, a lot of heuristics and biases exist so our brain can save on calories. But although being lazy might have saved precious calories in the ancestral environment, in the modern world we have plenty of calories and this is no longer an issue. (I do think I eat more fr... (read more)

It was also on the BBC TV main evening news today, and BBC News 24.

Edit: more from them here:

Thank you for posting this additional story. That one is particularly good to see because it mentions Bostrom, and talks about Friendliness in AI (though not by that name).

How many things apparently impossible have nevertheless been performed by resolute men who had no alternative but death.

-- Napoleon Bonaparte.

Apparently that's old. The address currently on their website is although that hasn't received any coins yet.

Maybe the old one is fine too, but unless someone can shed light on why they changed from the old address, it's probably best not to send coins to it, although I'd hope if it had become unsafe they would have announced it loudly.

2yli10y []:
It's certainly interesting to read these comments with the benefit of an additional two and a half years of information.

As it's been queried how many physicists, mathematicians, etc. currently believe what about QM, I thought this paper (no paywall, Yay!) might interest a few of you: A Snapshot of Foundational Attitudes Toward Quantum Mechanics

For example, question 12: Copenhagen 42% Information 24% Everett 18%

Here, we present the results of a poll carried out among 33 participants of a conference on the foundations of quantum mechanics. The participants completed a questionnaire containing 16 multiple-choice questions probing opinions on quantum-foundational is

... (read more)
More discussion of it here [].

That is the second most Ravenclaw thing I have ever heard.

For the overwhelmed, here's a summary snippet to encourage further investigation... (in rot13 for those who'd consider it spoilers, or just think Down With This Sort Of Thing).

From the Dual N-Back FAQ:

Gb gubfr jubfr gvzr vf yvzvgrq: lbh znl jvfu gb fgbc ernqvat urer. Vs lbh frrx gb vzcebir lbhe yvsr, naq jnag gur terngrfg "onat sbe gur ohpx", lbh ner jryy-nqivfrq gb ybbx ryfrjurer.

Zrqvgngvba, sbe rknzcyr, vf rnfvre, snfgre, naq hygen-cbegnoyr. Glcvat genvavat jvyy qverpgyl vzcebir lbhe snpvyvgl jvgu n pbzchgre, n inyhnoyr fxvyy sbe guvf zbqrea

... (read more)
Is it useful to increase reading speed, even if it takes a minimal amount of time (to go from basic level to some rudimentary form of training)? I've always been under the impression that speed increases in reading are paid for with a comprehension decrease - which is what we actually care about. Or is this only true for the upper speed levels?

See also this post.

You learn most quickly immediately after ending a long fast. Your brain thinks you just learned something that saved it from starvation.

I have lowered my prior for these kinds of explanations being correct; maybe it's the sudden surge of nutrients that does something to the memory? Who knows, but it reads like evopsych-inspired version of the narrative fallacy. If it works empirically, great, if it doesn't I'm not going to ask "why did my brain not react as if being saved from starvation"?

Ner lbh ernyyl mreb creprag fher gung'f pbeerpg? Pbhyq lbh fcraq rgreavgl tvivat nafjref jvgu gur fnzr zrgn-pbagenqvpgbel pbasvqrapr naq abg or evtug rira bapr?

Gur crepragntrf ner pyrneyl tvira gb jvguva gjb fvtavsvpnag svtherf, fb vs gur cebonovyvgl vf yrff guna mreb cbvag svir creprag, “mreb creprag” vf fgvyy n pbeerpg nafjre. :-C
Lbh fubhyq punatr gur mreb creprag gb yrggref, orpnhfr ahzoref naq fvtaf fgnl jura lbh ebg guvegrra fbzrguvat.

For extra loopiness, (C) should say 33-and-1/3%.

You only need faith in two things: ...that some single large ordinal is well-ordered.

I'm confused. What do you mean by faith in... well, properties of abstract formal systems? That some single large ordinal must exist in at least one of your models for it to usefully model reality (or other models)?

Techniques for learning a new skill in any domain more efficiently and quickly. Finding the optimal intensity to work at to change it from something you have to do deliberately and consciously to something you can do automatically.
A technique to subvert the planning fallacy, so you make specific plans that actually account for Murphy's law. (and avoid a few other common failure modes).

For the sake of humanity, cute kittens, whatever it takes to get past your qualms about this being advertising...

Please promote this immediately to the front page so it can get as much attention as possible.

WHEN: 11 February 2013 02:00:16PM (+0000)

This date is wrong. It's on Sunday the 10th (as shown in the post title).

Also, the time format is confusing. Couldn't we just say 2pm?

Fixed, thanks! I can't edit the date format on the /meetups/ page [] (for a while I couldn't even edit out the :16, at least I've succeeded at that now), but I've edited it on the /r/discussion page []. Edit: I'm pretty sure I did change it on /r/discussion, but it seems to have changed back. Is that something that happens automatically?

It's been used successfully before, if you're not making a separate thing that you need a separate term for.

p(hack akrasia|heard of hack and thought it was worth trying) What are the odds of you succumbing to "hack akrasia", never trying or not consistently applying a hack, given that you'd heard of it and thought it was worth trying?

I suggest we think twice about making the term "hack akrasia" a thing. Once it's in comments without definition, does a newcomer read it as having akrasia about hacking, or trying to hack akrasia?

It's fine to have terms people won't understand if they'll realize that and look it up, but this one invites oblivious misinterpretation.

Do you have an alternative term in mind? I was thinking "meta-akrasia" at first, but that didn't seem quite right when I thought about it. BTW, I'm not in favor of making it a thing or anything like that, I was just writing a couple discussion posts about it... It's not like I'm writing a book here.

I'd generally suggest saying why you rot13 something (if it's not obvious) before the text rather than after. I tend to ha-ebg guvatf nf V ernq gurz if I can't think of a reason not to, and suspect I'm not the only one.

I used a Nokia 3330 until last year.

Do you ever have feelings of irrational nostalgia for hopelessly obsolete technology?

Vote up for YES.

Vote up for NO.
Karma balance.
Vote up for NO.
Vote up for YES.

What is your favorite color? [pollid:17]

What about fuligin?
Won't you also ask about my favourite colour?

Most voters so far have probably voted False to this question: [pollid:16]

As of my vote, I count 28 winners.

This doesn't look right:

The raw data says there are 13 votes for "0" and 20 votes for "1".

Did you read the post I linked?

That later edit wasn't in the comment when I read it. Thanks for adding.

Which ones are not actual properties of the collapse interpretation?

I don't think Eliezer has suggested they were properties of all possible non-Everett interpretations.

Did you read the post I linked? He certainly doesn't seem to address anything but Everett and objective collapse (which he also appear to conflate with Copenhagen).

I'm curious about the following...

Would John Cramer's transactional interpretation require more complexity (at the level of the fundamental laws, rather than the amount of stuff in the universe) than the many worlds interpretation?

Roughly what proportion of the physics community backs it?

Is it a non-differentiable (or even discontinuous) phenomenon?

Is it non-local in the configuration space?

Does it violate CPT symmetry?

Does it violate Liouville's Theorem (has a many-to-one mapping from initial conditions to outcomes)?

Is it acausal / non-deterministic / inh... (read more)

3Eliezer Yudkowsky11y
One of those questions is not like the others, but I'd also like to hear an answer to all the others. Obviously, if even one answer is "Yes", then I will instantly toss it out the window unless it has an experimental consequence different from MWI or a strictly endogenous answer to the Born rule. ("We use the Born rule to decide which world survives!" is not endogenous, it is pasting an arbitrary mechanism attached to the same rule-of-unknown-origin treated as fiat.) If there are two "Yes" answers that aren't the same "Yes", I will toss it even if it has endogenous Born. Any damn idiot can introduce a bunch of magic and sneak in some fairly arbitrary linkage to measure which eventually yields the Born probabilities - I'd expect thousands of theories like that, and I'd expect none of them to be right. The great achievement would be getting Born without magic, where 'magic' is represented by a "Yes" to any of the above questions.
This paper might be of interest to you: Why Everettians Should Appreciate the Transactional Interpretation [] Abstract: The attractive feature of the Everett approach is its admirable spirit of approaching the quantum puzzle with a Zen-like "beginner's mind" in order to try to envision what the pure formalism might be saying about quantum reality, even if that journey leads to a strange place. It is argued that the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TI), appropriately interpreted, shares the same motivation and achieves much more, with far fewer conceptual perplexities, by taking into account heretofore overlooked features of the quantum formalism itself (i.e. advanced states). In particular, TI does not need to talk about brain states, consciousness, or observers (rational or otherwise). In its possibilist variant ("PTI"), it shares the realist virtues of treating state vector branches as genuine dynamical entities, without having to explain how or why all of their associated outcomes actually happen (they don't), how to account for a plenitude of counterpart observers in some coherent notion of trans-temporal identity of the bifurcating observers (observers don't bifurcate in TI), nor how the certainty of all outcomes could be consistent with any coherent theory of probability, let alone the Born probability (the Born probability emerges naturally in TI). In short, TI is precisely the one-world interpretation Kent is looking for in his (2010).
Neither the many-worlds interpretation, nor any retrocausal interpretation, has a canonical, ontologically satisfactory, self-contained definition as a theory. In both cases, you will find people who say that the interpretation is just a way of thinking about quantum mechanics, so the calculational procedure is exactly the same as Copenhagen. If you dig a little deeper, you can find quantum formalisms which are self-contained algorithmically, and which possess some resemblance to the spirit of the interpretations, such as consistent histories [] (for many worlds) and two-state-vector formalism [] (for single-world retrocausality). I can't say that one of these is clearly simpler than the other. By the way, Eliezer's original argument for simplicity of MWI has the following flaw. The comparison is between Everett and Collapse, and we are told Collapse has two axiomatic forms of dynamics - unitary evolution and collapse - where Everett just has one - unitary evolution. But then we learn that we don't know how to derive the Born rule from unitary evolution alone. So to actually use the "theory", you have to bring back collapse anyway, as a separate part of your calculational algorithm! Retrocausality is a minority preference compared to many worlds, there's no doubt about that. It could be like 1% versus 20%. If you also counted people who are just interested by it, you should add a few more percent. It is meant to be relativistically local and that takes care of the majority of those questions. Whether it is non-differentiable or non-deterministic would depend on the details of a proper retrocausal theory. For example, Wheeler-Feynman theory is just classical electrodynamics with waves that converge on a point as well as waves that spread from a point, whereas the two-state-vector formalism is stochastic.
It's worth noting that most of these are strawmen put up by Yudkowsky, not actual properties of non-Everett interpretations. ( self citation [] )

No sleep, or anything that would interrupt thinking about it, for a year, might lead to an interesting wish.

I have started to think that ev-psych is way overconfident.

As in about the likelihood of certain kinds of explanations?

I notice that I am meta-confused...

Supposing that all possible universes 'exist' with some weighting by simplicity or requirement of uniformity, does not make me feel less fundamentally confused about all this;

Shouldn't we strongly expect this weighting, by Solomonoff induction?

Allow me to paraphrase him with some of my own thoughts. Dang, existence, what is that? Can things exist more than other things? In Solomonoff induction we have something that kind of looks like "all possible worlds", or computable worlds anyway, and they're each equipped with a little number that discounts them by their complexity. So maybe that's like existing partially? Tiny worlds exist really strongly, and complex worlds are faint? That...that's a really weird mental image, and I don't want to stake very much on its accuracy. I mean, really, what the heck does it mean to be in a world that doesn't exist very much? I get a mental image of fog or a ghost or something. That's silly because it needlessly proposes ghosty behavior [] on top of the world behavior which determines the complexity, so my mental imagery is failing me. So what does it mean for my world to exist less than yours? I know how that numerical discount plays into my decisions, how it lets me select among possible explanations, it's a very nice and useful little principle. Or at least its useful in this world. But maybe I'm thinking that in multiple worlds, some of which I'm about to find myself having negative six octarine tentacles. So occam's razor is useful in ... some world. But the fact that its useful to me suggests that it says something about reality, maybe even about all those other possible worlds, whatever they are. Right? Maybe? It doesn't seem like a very big leap to go from "Occam's razor is useful" to "Occam's razor is useful because when using it, my beliefs reflect and exploit the structure of reality", or to "Some worlds exist more than others, the obvious interpretation of what ontological fact is being taking into consideration in the math of Solomonoff induction". Wei Dai suggested that maybe prior probabilities are just utilities, that simpler universes don't exist more, we just care about them more, or let o
Probability is not obviously [] amount of existence.

"She heard Harry sigh, and after that they walked in silence for a while, passing through an archway of some reddish metal like copper, into a corridor that was just like the one they'd left except that it was tiled in pentagons instead of squares."

"she was trying to count the number of things in the room for the third time and still not getting the same answer, even though her memory insisted that nothing had been added or removed"

I'm curious though, is there anything in there that would even count as this level of logically impossi... (read more)

we've managed to put together a databases listing all AI predictions that we could find...

Have you looked separately at the predictions made about milestones that have now happened (e.g. beat Grand Master/respectable amateur at Jeopardy!/chess/driving/backgammon/checkers/tic-tac-toe/WWII) for comparison with the future/AGI predictions?

I'm especially curious about the data for people who have made both kinds of prediction, what correlations are there, and how the predictions of things-still-to-come look when weighted by accuracy of predictions of things-that-happened-by-now.

Are there any long-term sets of predictions for anything but chess? I don't recall reading anyone ever speculating about AI and, say, Jeopardy! before info about IBM's Watson began to leak. EDIT: XiXiDu points out on Google+ [] that there have been predictions and bets made on computer Go. That's true, but I'm not sure how far back they go - with computer chess, the predictions start in the 1940s or 1950s, giving around a ~50 year window. With computer Go, I expect it to be over by 2030 or so, giving a 40 year window if people started seriously prognosticating back in the '90s, well before Monte-Carlo Trees revolutionized computer Go.

I hereby nominate this for the 2012 Understatement Award.

How was it an understatement?

I acknowledge that it feels like one when you read it, but defining that way lies madness! Just ask the words "ironic" and "literally".

I agree with David_Gerard: when I say I'm doing something, it appears to the reader as though I'm doing that thing. I would also agree with various more-strongly-worded equivalents, such as "when I say I'm doing X in a series of acts that includes Y, it's disingenuous to later claim that Y wasn't intended to do X." Hence, understatement. That is, an expression worded less strongly than, in my opinion, the situation justifies.
Is "challenge the consensus" a performative utterance []? By saying "I challenge the consensus regarding foo", do you thereby challenge the consensus regarding foo? Consider: If I said, "I challenge the Less Wrong consensus that 2 + 2 = 5. I assert that it's 4," by saying this I wouldn't actually challenge a consensus that 2 + 2 = 5, because there isn't one to challenge. Rather, all I would be doing is setting up a straw man: falsely asserting the existence of a consensus, and then disagreeing with that imagined consensus.

Could I suggest a more descriptive title? "Singularity Summit 2012" sounds like it's an announcement from the organizers, or for discussion about the summit in general.

My apologise, I did not intend to miss-lead anyone.
Renamed to "A question about ...", then somehow the change reverted to the original title (could be an edit by the author), now renamed again (edit log [] shows both edits, so the first one didn't just fail to register...).

Why did the internet stop working

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

suppose E.Y. were to post, for whatever reason (cat jumping on keyboard?)...

This happened once (F12 was mapped to that set of keystrokes at the time).

BTW, who was it who had a script to sort all the comments by a user by karma? wedrifid?
Haha! Thanks, great example.

Should we add a point to these quote posts, that before posting a quote you should check there is a reference to it's original source or context? Not necessarily to add to the quote, but you should be able to find it if challenged. seems fairly diligent at sourcing quotes, but Google doesn't rank it highly in search results compared to all the misattributed, misquoted or just plain made up on the spot nuggets of disinformation that have gone viral and colonized Googlespace lying in wait to catch the unwary (such as apparently myself).

Yes, and also a point to check whether the quote has been posted to LW already.

Hmm. There are hundreds of thousands of pages asserting that he said it but for some reason I can't find a single reference to it's context.

Thanks. Have edited the quote.

For future reference: wikiquote [] gives quotes with context.

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.

-- [Edit: Probably not] Albert Einstein

Genii seem to create problems. They prevent some in the process, and solve others, but that's not what they're in for: it's not nearly as fun.
Do you have a source? Einstein gets quoted quite a lot for stuff he didn't say.
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